Talk Health and Care

Inefficiencies in mandatory workplace training

One of the key issues with mandatory workplace training within the NHS is it's conducted in the most bureaucratic, hamfisted way possible, often offers little in the way of useful information and, even worse, tends to contain information already known or fairly obvious. It's evidently a legal-backside covering exercise.

For example, if one was to attend a fire safety course, they would have to first re-register(!) with a mandatory training website if new to the Trust, find the course in question (out of hundreds or thousands of other courses, some of which can be confusingly named), book the course - usually on a date or time that is very inconvenient to attend (for example, how do night-time workers handle daytime only courses without disrupting their sleep-cycle pattern?) at a classically remote location that's difficult to get to - attendance often takes an entire day for what is at best a 2 hour course that could hypothetically be learned online - all to learn the basics of fire safety, such as 'don't daisy chain electrical multi-plugs'.

Whilst I'm aware competencies with training may vary, the process is entirely bureaucratic, and worse, the basic courses are mandatorily repeated either yearly or biyearly. Imagine 10,000 staff taking 1 day to attend a very basic training course every year and you'd have 10,000 days wasted, not counting overheads of maintaining the courses.

Proposed changes:

  •  If a person has completed a basic training course, it remains permanently done unless, either:
  •  A manager refers to them to it due to a notable lack of skills, or
  •  Substantively new information is added to the course material to warrant updating everyone's knowledge.
  •  A staff member wishes to self-refer themselves to a course


  •  Courses must be done online unless there is a clear or legitimate reason to do it in person (EG CPR practice on dummies).
  •  Night-time versions of the course should be available for night-time staff
  •  If a course takes only 2 hours, then it should not block the entire day, only 2 hours
  •  Staff members should not need to pre-register in order to attend: if there are free seats or spaces available, so long as they turn up on the day of the course and they're not occupying anyone else's slot, they can attend the course.
  •  Mini-courses should be available in an office (hospital or otherwise) if the attendance numbers are too low to warrant an entire lecture room.
  •  It should be possible for managers to be qualified to give new recruits basic mandatory training (EG fire safety) in lieu of available courses, and to sign off to that effect.


Note this covers courses that individuals attend in person. It does not cover inefficiencies in online courses (which suffer from similar problems such as teaching information that is far too basic, being done too regularly etc).

How does your employer help you to develop your skills or career?

What would you like to happen to enable you to develop your skills and career more?

edited on Nov 2, 2018 by Isabel DHSC

jackio 10 months ago

I so agree with this comment, as someone who is booked on yet another fire training course on one of my days off this week as it was the only one available locally.

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joanne watt 10 months ago

It is not just mandatory training that is often duplicated. There are other HR checks such as CRB checks, hepatitis B and other immunisation proof, registration checks etc. A central file for health and social care professionals would reduce these frustrations and release time to care for patients.

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Irene Stratton 10 months ago

Why is there not uniform mandatory training across the NHS for fire, manual lifting, all that equity of access stuff? It is so inefficient to have multiple versions of training material. It would mean job cuts if there was a central mandatory training provider but at least those of working in more than one trust wouldn't be wasting time doing everything in two places. A trip hazard in one Trust is very likely to be a trip hazard in another.

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Mandy Hollis 9 months ago

Some Trusts do already offer many training courses as on-line, which allows for many to be done by night staff or other shift workers at a time that is more convenient. Some are even smart enough to link to your electronic staff record. However, agree that it seems very wasteful that each Trust seems to develop it's own material, whether on-line or classroom for what is very basic training courses, which should and could be standardised. The example of fire safety is a good one, if the course only covers basics of fire safety/management, then this could be standardised as things like fire bottles for different fires, procedures to follow based on fire services advise are probably common to all.

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Cheryl Jarvis 9 months ago

In our organisation we offer options for most training, face to face or online (via ESR). Face to face classes are offered at a variety of sites (as we are a community organisation) on different days of the week and times of day to suit part-time workers and those who struggle to get to other sites. This reduces inefficiencies in travel time and costs.

Many of the mandatory topics delivered across healthcare are legal requirements of compulsory to provide NHS services, so unfortunately not a lot of wriggle room. Our training (where appropriate) is aligned to Skills for Health Core Training Framework so directly transferable where other organisations have also aligned to CSTF to stop duplication/repeat unnecessarily. All training is recorded on ESR so making this process relatively easy.

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Carla Burns 8 months ago

Some great ideas here - we could really improve efficiency with both basic training and employment checks.

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(Account removed) 8 months ago

What would be the minimum and maximum of training you think new starters should receive/go through? And should it be different if you've been in a similar role previously?

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Joshua Flynn 8 months ago

"What would be the minimum and maximum of training you think new starters should receive/go through? And should it be different if you've been in a similar role previously? "

The minimum and maximum should be determined primarily by their responsibilities, and whether or not they're responsible for patients. This is considering both legal and safety elements.

For example, someone starting a junior admin role wouldn't need to know as much as say, a junior doctor.

There should also be a consideration towards available time and the priority of each training piece. For example, team building exercises, anti-bullying, would be less important than fire safety or DATIX reporting, for example.

(I personally believe the anti-bullying training is ineffective because it's easy for someone who is a bully to give the expected correct answers but continue in their behaviours. If it worked, why is bullying still rampant in the NHS?)

Regarding training for a previously similar role, whilst I believe training should be transferrable, there's a concern the individual's training might not be the same across Trusts. There's also a concern the individual's training might be out-of-date (if coming from a role years back) against newer legislation or process changes.

So Trusts would likely need to standardise training or set up 'equivilent' training types - all dated so it's possible to determine how recent - and allow employees the ability to reference that prior training if transferring roles.

(It might be useful to include something similar with Universities and private healthcare organisations as well.)

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